| Places to Visit in Nepal |
Gorkha, situated at 140km west of Kathmandu at an altitude of 1,135 meter, is the ancestral hometown of the Nepal’s ruling royal family. Gorkha is only 18 km up a paved road of the Pokhara-Kathmandu Highway. A brief visit on the way to or from Pokhara would provide more insights into Nepal than one is likely to get at lakeside in Pokhara.
Gorkha’s small town is perhaps the most important historical town of Nepal. From its hilltop fortess, King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the ninth generation paternal ancestor of the present King, launched his lifelong attempt to unify the independent states of Nepal, a wildly ambitious project which succeeded due to his brilliance, and the effectiveness of his locally recruited troops. The British term “Gurkha” evolved from the name Gorkha, referring to the famed fighting soldiers of the region.
Gorkha’s centerpiece is the magnificent Gorkha Durbar with a fort, a palace and a temple with excellent views of the surrounding valleys, and the Mansalu range.
Gorkha Bazaar is primarily a cobbled street market place where by people from neighboring hill dwellings come to trade. There are a few temples near about, but not much. Yet, it is worth a visit as it provides a very good vista of the quiet charm that soaks a typical hill village of Nepal.
Gorkha Durbar is the main attraction of Gorkha, an hour steep walk up a hill from the bazaar area. It used to be the dwelling of King Prithvi Narayan and his ancestors. The Durbar itself is a humble, yet quite impressive, complex of a temple, fort, and a palace built in the Newar style of Kathmandu. The view of the Himalayan range and the deep valleys from up there is quite breathtaking.
Gorakhnath Cave, ten meters below the palace’s southern side, is the sacred cave temple of Gorkhanath. The cave is is carved out of the solid rock and is among the most important religious sites for mainstream Brahmins and Chhetris of Nepal.
Manang area treks. One can also walk through Besishahar area to Pokhara in a four days.
Gorkha is five and half hours from Kathmandu, four and half from Pokhara, and two hours from Chitwan. If travelling by bus, take the bus to Pokhara, get off at Abu Khaireni on the way to Pokhara from Chitwan or Kathmandu. From Abu Khaireni, take a bus to Gorkha, the ride is 21km. If you are travelling to Pokhara from Kathmandu or Chitwan, or vice-versa, you can make Gorkha a daytime stop-over. Bus fare would cost you between US$1-US$3 from Kathmandu, depending on whether you take the local bus or a more comfortable “tourist bus”.
Basically, two choices. Gorkha Hill Resort is a rather expensive upscale hotel (about US$30) with a great view of the Himalayas. The fact that it is located 4km from the town makes it a little inconvenient if you don’t have your own transportation. For about US$8, there is also a very basic lodge closer to the town.
Not much. There are a number of local eateries serving dal-bhat (the staple Nepali food of rice with vegetables and lentil soup). Gorkha Hill Resort serves decent food (primarily to their guests) for a steep US$8-US$10 price range. If you are there for a day trip, bringing your own sandwich etc. from Kathmandu or Pokhara is perhaps better.